Dubai: New car buyers in the UAE have the tendency to get rid of their vehicles once they approach or cross 200,000km on the odometer. The 200,000km mark seems to be a psychological barrier. Few realise that most modern cars, especially those made in Japan, can easily go 400,000km or more with basic, regular maintenance. If you are in the market for a cheap but reliable second hand car, don’t be put off by the mileage. Realise that if you buy a car for, say, Dh10,000 or less with 220,000km on it, and it has had regular maintenance, then what you are getting is a car that has half its life left in it, for a price that is about 1/7th or even 1/10th of the original price.
So, here’s a list of used cars you can buy that can touch the 400,000km mark with basic, regular maintenance.
1) Toyota Camry (1999 to 2006)
I can visualise you nodding in agreement. We have all seen the indomitable Camry taxi cabs in the UAE. I was in an early 2017 one recently, and it had 994,000km on it, and still ran like a clock. The cabbie told me it was driven almost 24 hours a day, every day, for the past almost 3 years, by two drivers in shifts. Toyota is the car brand most associated with reliability; the Camry (along with others from the stable such as the Corolla, the Land Cruiser and the Hilux) have made Toyota the biggest car manufacturer in the world. You can get used Camrys from 1999 to 2006 with over 200,000km on them for about Dh10,000. As always, only look for cars with service records.
2) Toyota Corolla (1999 to 2005)
The Toyota Corolla is the best basic car made in the history of the world. Production started in 1966, and as of 2017, Toyota had sold 45 million Corollas, making it by far the biggest selling model from any manufacturer ever. The engine is ultra-reliable; spare parts (on the rare occasions that you need them) are cheap and widely available, both new and used; mechanics find them very easy to work on, hence labour is cheap; the drive is not horrible; and the gas mileage is very good. You can buy a 1999 to 2005 Corolla for less than Dh10,000. As long as there is service history, don’t worry at all about mileage. These cars will go on and on without any major problems. At 200,000km, a well-maintained Corolla is just warming up!
3) Honda Accord (2002 to 2006)
The Accord is one of the most reliable used cars you can buy, especially on a tight budget. If you come across a decently maintained Accord with 200,000+ km on the clock, know for a fact that that car has more than half of its life left in it. All you have to do is go in for the regular oil and oil filter changes, and change other fluids such as coolants, automatic transmission fluid, brake fluid etc regularly. Be mindful though: Honda parts are not as cheap as Toyota. But, on the other hand, the used spare parts market is inundated with Honda parts.
4) Nissan Sunny (2007 to 2012)
Yes, an old Sunny is dreadful to look at, and even more dreadful to drive. But it is super easy to maintain. And parts are cheap. Gives great gas mileage, and comes with an ultra-reliable engine. What more can you ask for, if your idea of owning cars is strictly getting between Here and There without breaking down? How much ever car guys ridicule the humble Sunny, the fact is that it is one of the best value-for-money propositions out there. You can get a working, reliable 15-year-old example for about Dh5,000.
5) Mercedes Benz E Class (1996 to 2002)
Now we are talking. Who says used, reliable cars have to be boring? The Mercedes E Class (W210 chassis) is an excellent luxury car that you can pick up for less than Dh10,000. It is hard as nails; one of the most reliable models made by the company in recent history. With its massive trunk and reliable engine, this car is perfect for family use and for daily driving. For those seeking Mercedes solidity with almost Japanese level reliability, the W210 is the car to go for. For Dh5,000, you can pick up beat-up example. For Dh10,000, you get yourself a proper Mercedes. Used spare parts are widely and cheaply available in the one and only in Sharjah Industrial Area.